Dispatch from the ADC

The start of the 2020-21 academic year has been a busy one across the Academic Development Centre, as all teams work to support faculty members in creating courses for remote delivery. The rapid pivot of last spring has given way to a more intentional delivery, but the remote environment still presents a steep learning curve for many of us. But faculty members at MRU have done a tremendous job in adapting to the current situation, and part of this is taking advantage of the professional development opportunities and help options within the ADC.

Andrew Riel in the ADC Sandbox comments that he is profoundly impressed by faculty members’ determination to jump into online learning, and that he has witnessed faculty members working hard to learn how to work with these tools and deliver good learning to their students.

As one of the Faculty Development Consultants, in my own work with faculty members, I recall in the spring, the focus was on figuring out how to get everything up and running. We were all getting used to constantly being on camera, and instructors were learning about asynchronous versus synchronous delivery, thinking about how to quickly adapt their existing assessments, and trying to support students through a bewildering time. In a few short months, people have started feeling comfortable with the basics. Focus has shifted to redesigning courses to fit with the current environment, and MRU colleagues are finding important ways to create community with their students from a distance.

Faculty members are also looking to connect with one another and, when possible, find time to re-engage with  their scholarship interests, which may have been paused due other pressing concerns at the end of the last academic year. Faculty development continues in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, building a professional profile, and academic writing. 

Amazingly, all of this is happening in the context of a continued pandemic, with many faculty members juggling caregiving responsibilities, video-bombing pets, and pushing home wifis to their limits. We are all looking forward to rejoining our community on campus, but meanwhile, faculty members are invited to seek support by visiting our Preparing for Online Delivery website for resources, participating in ADC programming (some upcoming topics include assessment, teacher identity, building online community, and redesigning courses for remote delivery), or connecting with a member of the following ADC teams:

The Faculty Team can help you make decisions about online facilitation approaches, create inclusive learning and assessment opportunities for all of your students, design alternatives to in-person assessments, or talk through any aspect of your course you are working through.

The Learning Technologies Group supports the effective integration of learning technologies into classroom, online, and blended learning formats. The Sandbox is there to provide help with Blackboard and other institutionally-supported educational technology (such as Google suite).

The Academic Media Group is a full service media production team available to create media to enhance curriculum, in addition to providing consultation and/or support to faculty developing their own media projects. Our tools include: 360 camera, drones, video recording & editing, audio production and more!

Watch for our bi-weekly newsletter, which is the new vehicle to advertise our ongoing professional development offerings. 

Christian Cook, new Academic Director of the ADC shares, “I am so proud to be part of our community that has responded with such resiliency and optimism to the challenges imposed on us by the global pandemic. The faculty dedication across MRU to excellence in student learning is inspiring, as is the vulnerability and support in all of this, that we hear and feel every day.”

Michelle Yeo, on behalf of the Academic Development Centre

September 30, 2020